Sep 7: The Rangers have officially announced the one-year deal.
Sep 4: The New York Rangers have inked young defenseman Libor Hajek to a new deal, per CapFriendly. The one-year contract carries an $874,125 cap hit and salary while paying him $70,000 at the minor-league level.
Originally a second-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016, Hajek entered the Rangers organization as part of the return for former captain Ryan McDonagh in 2018. Hajek’s played all of his NHL games with the Rangers, scoring three goals and 10 points in 77 games over the past three seasons. Hajek made the jump to being a full-time NHLer this season, playing in 44 out of the Rangers’ 56 games and spent no time in the minor leagues. However, the two-way nature of the contract would lead some to believe that the Rangers weren’t particularly impressed with his performance.
There’s obviously still room to grow for the young Czech, but the Rangers may have been right in their assessment. Hajek’s posted poor chance generation and suppression numbers in the league for the past two seasons. Now with a bolstered depth chart on the left side of defense that includes the emerging K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, and free-agent acquisitions Patrik Nemeth and Jarred Tinordi, it’s possible that Hajek sees a return to the minors this season and is placed on waivers.